Law on Trial 2012
Reading the Riots
- Are last year’s riots best seen as a protest against the police?
- Did they reflect anger at public spending cuts, and the growing inequality that these are bringing?
- Or was the looting and vandalism simply opportunistic behaviour on the part of criminal gangs?
Professor Tim Newburn led a major research inquiry into these issues, the ‘Reading the Riots’ study, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, and undertaken in partnership with the Guardian. The research involved interviews with hundreds of people who participated in the disorder.
Tim Newburn will present key findings from the study. He will describe the anger and frustration felt by those who were involved in the disorder, in part a product of the unfair and discourteous treatment they feel they suffer at the hands of the police, but also reflecting the disillusionment many feel at the social and economic changes which leave them increasingly disconnected from mainstream society. Rioters identified a range of political grievances, but at heart of their complaints was a pervasive sense of injustice. For some this was economic - the lack of money, jobs or opportunity. For others it was more broadly social - how they felt they were treated compared with others. Some of the looting was simply opportunistic, but the role of gangs in the riots has been significantly overstated by the government.
Guest Speaker: Professor Tim Newburn, (Criminology and Social Policy, LSE)